September 27, 2000
Introducing Joel


It felt decidedly strange, standing around in the Pregnancy & Infant Development section of the bookstore last week.

It has been fourteen-plus years since I've had need for/interest in/room on my bookshelf for books on pregnancy, or for any of the stuff that immediately follows pregnancy. These days I am much more likely to be found in the Women's Health Section ("Is It Menopause, or Are You Just Really REALLY Cranky?") or the Language & Writing Section ("Yo! Secra! That Novel Isn't Gonna Write Itself!") or the Self-Improvement Section ("Chicken Soup and Valium for the Executive Ass' Soul"). Books about fetal development, or about breastfeeding, or about the Ornery Ones/Terrible Twos/Threatening Threes don't really *do* a lot for me, at this stage of the game.

But this was a special situation.

There were three other women standing nearby, browsing the same book section. All three of them were much younger than I am; all three were quite visibly pregnant; all three were obvious first-timers. How could I tell? They looked well-rested, for one thing. (Plus one of them looked like she was actually considering "Childbirth for Dummies.") We were all very courteous and deferential toward each other: lots of polite smiles, lots of excuse me excuse me excuse mes, plenty of allowance for plenty of personal space. Who knows? Maybe they thought I was one of "them" ... one of those elegant, older career-types, maybe, who postpones motherhood until midlife. But I still felt uncomfortably out of my element.

And old.

And beentheredonethat.

And, frankly, sorta silly.

In fact, it was all I could do to resist saying to these other women, These books aren't for ME!! I KNOW all this stuff already!! They're for my daughter!!  But of course that would be publicly admitting that I'm on the road to grandmotherhood.

And I'm not quite *there* yet, in my head. OR on my website.

I've got to hand it to Jaymi's boyfriend: he is already figuring out how to push my buttons for maximum effect. First the e-mail a couple of weeks back, congratulating me on the writing awards, and now this:
Just wanted to say hi and thanks for the books. I've been reading the expecting one, but the other one, I didn't quite understand so it's in the "Jaymi Department" ... Anyways I just wanted to re-assure you because I haven't written you since we broke the news that I am going to try to be the best father/boyfriend/husband? <-- isn't that cute? that I can be and your daughter and grandchild will never feel unloved and (hopefully) never have any needs unfulfilled. <-- ok. we're upgrading him from fruitcake to socks on the christmas shopping list.

Anyways have a good night/day/week and we've decided to leave all the basketball-buying for our child up to you (BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE). <-- hahahahaha!! i LOVE this guy!!

Bye bye,


From all accounts, Joel is very excited about becoming a father. In fact, I think he is even more excited than JAYMI is. She sounds pretty blasé about the whole thing right now, whenever I talk to her on the phone.

But then again Joel isn't the one puking up saltines and Gatorade right now, 24/7.

I don't know Joel very well. Actually, I don't know him at all, although it has been pointed out to me that I have met him, briefly, back in March when I flew up to TicTac for Kacie's birthday. I have a vague recollection of sitting on my ex-husband's sofa that weekend, being introduced to a parade of young, smiling, mostly-pleasant young men. Schmidty was one. Joel was another, apparently. I honestly don't remember. (But then again, I've been told that the memory is the second thing to go, right after ... ummm ... right after ... something. I forget.)

I imagine that you and I are going to get to know Joel together, Dear Reader, as the months go by.

All I can really tell you about him at this point is that he's older than my daughter by a few years -- enough of an age difference to be reassuring, but not enough to be weird -- and that he is gainfully employed, at a popular Seattle-area radio station, and that he has supportive family living nearby who are reportedly happy about this recent turn of events ...

... and that he apparently plans to be a responsible, responsive partner to my daughter/father to my grandc ... my gra ... my grandchi ...

... to Jaymi's baby.

AND he reads *FootNotes* on at least a semi-regular basis.

So far: so good.

Jaymi called yesterday to thank me for the books (and for the unsolicited check I tucked inside the front jacket of "What To Expect When You're Expecting"). She promised that she would read the books I bought her ... as soon as she can wrestle them away from Joel, anyway.

"It was my pleasure," I said. And I mostly meant it.

Maybe spending an afternoon in the Pregnancy & Infant Development department of Cody's Bookstore isn't my idea of great gobs of fun ...

... and maybe I might have preferred that Jaymi wait a while before she starts her family: say, sometime during Joseph Lieberman's second term as President ... or better yet: after COLLEGE ...

... and maybe I'm not completely prepared for a small cranky person in diapers calling me silly names and ordering me around. (Besides Franz, I mean.) I still think of JAYMI as my baby. I haven't even finished sending out her BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS, forcryingoutloud.

This is all happening so fast.

But the fact is that sometime on or around May 4th, next spring, I figure that one of two things is going to happen: either I am going to dive-bomb into the world's largest box of Mountain Chablis, or else I'm going to fall madly, passionately, stoopidly, irrevocably in love with my grandc ... my gra ... my grandchi ...

... with Jaymi and Joel's baby.

Who knows? I might even end up back in the Pregnancy & Infant Development section of the bookstore, looking for books on the Ornery Ones/Terrible Twos/Threatening Threes.

Joel might need something to read, after all.

the pregnancy diary: book one

throw a rock